Regional Distortion in the 2013 BC Election

This chart shows the regional breakdown of the 2013 BC election results.

The top bar, “Votes” shows the percentage of the vote for each party scaled to fit into the width of the number of seats in the region.

The second bar, “Seats” shows the actual number of seats won in the last election.  The numbers behind the chart can be seen in more detail here.

In every region, one party gets too many seats at the expense of all the other parties.  This leads to an outcome where certain regions are over-represented in government and others are over-represented in opposition.  In the legislature it seems as if the regions of the province are pitted against one another. But this does not reflect the reality: it’s actually just an unfortunate artifact of the voting system.

The reality is that Liberal, NDP, Green and Conservative voters are found in every region.

The most extreme distortions are found in the Thompson-Cariboo, Okanagan-Shuswap, and Fraser Valley regions.  All the seats in those three regions went to the Liberals.

As a result, those three regions are over-represented in the government caucus.  Out of 49 elected Liberals, 21 members were from those three regions, making up nearly half the government’s seats. 

On the other hand, the NDP won more seats than it should have in Vancouver and some of its suburbs, and in Victoria and Vancouver Island, again at the expense of the other parties and their supporters.  The result is that these ridings are under-represented in the government caucus and over-represented on the opposition bench. 

So we end up with a regional breakdown where the government has its strength in certain regions and the opposition has its strength in other regions. 

And we have a legislature where one set of regions is falsely arrayed against another.

Policy decisions can’t help but be unbalanced under these conditions.  Without accurate regional representation in the legislature and especially on committees, how can we expect to get legislation that fairly represents the wishes of the whole province?  This applies to just about everything the government decides on, from transit to pipelines to drug policy to education to housing and everything in between.

If every region had the appropriate number of representatives from each party, including the Greens and Conservatives, we’d have a more balanced government, a more balanced opposition, and more balanced legislation, no matter which party was in which role.

Regional chart explanation

This table shows the vote% for each of the regions.  The vote% is then converted into seat % based on the number of seats in the region.  The actual seats are also shown.  This forms the basis for the regional seats bar chart. The makeup of each region is shown below.         …